It didn’t take long for Whitt and Finley to change and settle in on the beach. Mama had adjusted the beach umbrella to block most of the mid-day sun. Mooney had simply rotated her body so that both sides were evenly baked. Whitt was slathering herself with sunscreen while Finley went for a dip.
“The water is surprisingly warm.” Finley shook herself like a puppy to release the water from her cropped hair when she came out of the ocean.
Once, her hair had been long—almost to her waist. A mass of heavy, lolling curls. Max had loved her hair, which she normally wore twisted into a messy bun while she was at work. But when she was home with him, she let it down. He was mesmerized by its volume and fluidity.
“You look like a Phoenician goddess,” he would say.
“You don’t even know what a Phoenician goddess looks like, silly.”
“Yes, I do…like you.”
Finley stopped herself as she was toweling off. Suddenly, she remembered the resonance of his voice, the elegance of his hands, the laugh lines around his mouth, the sweet smell of his body—bergamot and spice. She missed him.
Whitt had slowed her slathering and was looking at her sister. “You okay?”
“Yeah,” Finley lied. “Just enjoying the sun on my skin.”
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